Wednesday, May 11, 2005

 

RIP Junior Delgado

Obituary in the Independent. For those not in the know, Junior Delgado was a fantastic reggae singer. I would say that his song "Sons of Slaves" with Scratch Perry is definitely one of my favorite songs ever. If you go here you can listen to it by clicking on the play button.

 

Whats $300 million between friends?

Looks like King Abdullah of Jordan has agreed to pardon our good friend Ahmad Chalabi over that little bank fraud incident in the late 1980s (this is according to Patrick Cockburn of the Independent). Well, I guess Chalabi doesn't have to worry about how he's going to effectively serve as deputy prime minister of Iraq from inside a Jordanian prison (he was sentenced to 22 years). Does anybody wonder how many free passes is this guy gonna get? It's quite remarkable, in a way.

 

Unrest in Afghanistan, bombings in Iraq

The latest news from Afghanistan isn't exactly a picture that George W. Bush can put on the front cover of his 12-step "How to Spread Democracy for Dummies" pamphlet:
Shouting ``Death to America,'' demonstrators smashed car and shop windows and stoned a passing convoy of American soldiers in the city of Jalalabad, near the Pakistan border, in the biggest outpouring of anti-American sentiment since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
That's from the AP story in the Guardian, which also indicated that the mob wasn't deferential to US-installed Afghan president Hamid Karzai either.
An Associated Press Television News cameraman said the crowds grew larger and wilder after the firing and the streets were deserted of traffic. Mobs pelted a government office and the local television station with rocks and tore down posters of President Hamid Karzai.
In other bad news, there was a spate of suicide bombings in Iraq that killed at least 60 people today around the country. And since we've got things in control on either side, we might as well take care of Iran, right? If people really think that all this mess is really making anybody safer, I don't see it. I just see more dead bodies. And more terror, more anger, more hatred, and more dissatisfaction.

Monday, May 09, 2005

 

Two quick notes

First, I heartily recommend one check out the LGF Quiz Slideshow comparing propaganda images of the "enemy" (ie. Arabs/Jews, the media, the left) from Cox & Forkum and from fascist Germany (via Jesus' General). On a related note, I just started The Jew, the Arab: A History of the Enemy by Gil Anidjar, which I very much look forward to reading.

Second, I watched quite a bit of Fox News' special last night "Iran: The Nuclear Threat." If anybody comes across a good analysis of this special, please let me know. As one would expect, it was a war-mongering piece, advocating that Israel and/or the United States launch strikes (by airplane or by launching missiles) against the known Iranian nuclear technology sites (hopefully to be accompanied by some sort of action to push regime change). The "experts" trotted out all suggested that there was a "one percent chance" of a ground invasion of Iran ("boots on the ground"), but all three that I remember also indicated that there was a 50% or greater possibility (and need) to launch some kind of strike against the nuclear sites or perhaps a blockade of Iran's Persian Gulf ports. I would say that the tone of the piece certainly did not allow for a continuation of the status quo, and it may just be the opening volley of a stepped up sabre-rattling media campaign against Iran. Seymour Hersh predicted a war on Iran this summer. If that's going to happen, the rhetoric of this piece may well start popping up more and more in the upcoming days.

 

Does anybody else see the problem here?

Anybody who has any interest at all in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot avoid the constant pairing of the words "Israel" and "democracy." And certainly those who try to make an argument sympathetic to Palestinians is often met by the counter-argument that Palestinians living in Israel take part in a democracy where they live either as equals with Israeli Jews, or at the very least far better than they would live in Lebanon (for example) or other states in the region (a variation of the dissent-squelching refrain "if you don't like it, why don't you just go somewhere else?").

But anybody truly interested in democratic principles should easily be able to see the problems inherent in the situation described in this article in Ha'aretz. The Israeli High Court is currently presiding over a case in which Palestinians from the occupied territories are arguing against their lands being confiscated and used to build Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank. Here we have individuals who are not citizens of Israel and thus have no representative in the Israeli goverment, and their property rights, and the fate of their land and their livelihoods, are being determined by the Israeli High Court.

As if to add insult to injury, they are lectured by justice Michael Cheshin for trying to argue that international law should be the basis of the decision (which seems logical enough to me, considering the fact that the construction of the wall is taking place outside of Israel's internationally recognized borders).
Cheshin quoted several clauses of the international ruling and said they lacked explanations. "Don't you, the petitioners, feel a certain discomfort when defending such a position?" he asked.
How condescending can you get? Furthermore, the one Arab member of the Israeli High Court, Salim Joubran, has recused himself of the case, since several of the petitions deal with land in al-Ram, a West Bank town where his brother lives. Joubran is being replaced by Jonathan Adiel. So now a panel made up completely of Israeli Jews is deciding the fate of Palestinians in the occupied territories. And this is democracy?

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